As we saw in another post, our names give us a sense of personal identity and uniqueness, and serve as bonds with our families. Additionally, our names are a great "resource" for extended learning of letters and words. "The most powerful and effective way for children to begin learning the complex process of learning about letters is by writing their own names", says Carol Lyons. In our classroom we provided our students with many opportunities to explore and recognize their names in many ways.. As we said before, first things first, so we started with the first letters in our names.
- Since we had talked about rainbows when creating our bee-forest, we decided to make the first letters of our names in rainbow colors. First we painted a piece of paper with the colors of the rainbow and then we cut the first letter in our names and stuck them on a blue piece of paper (the sky).
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- We also made them out of salt dough. It was so nice to measure and mix the ingredients, and knead the dough into a smooth ball!
Hussein, Zaid, Margaux, Aya
Afroditi, Evlampia, Cynthia, Ramez
Lily, Yiming, Jana
Yusuf, Yahia, Perla, Ege
We use the dough to form the first letter in our names.
After they dried, we painted them and created some wonderful frames!
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- Another activity that helped us explore the ways we can form the first letters in our names was tracing them on sand, and forming them with play-dough. Some of us tried to form the rest of the letters in our names as well!
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Well, we had worked a lot on the first letters of our names. It was time now to move on and start noticing the rest of the letters in our names.
- We read the story "Elmer" by David McKee. We loved that patchwork elephant, and we decorated our names to make them look like him.
- Another day we read the book “Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes. Chrysanthemum has 13 letters in her name! Well, how many letters do each of us have in our names? There was only one way to find out: count them.
Chrysanthemum's name is really long. How long is your name? Is there a name in the classroom that is longer or shorter than yours? In order to answer these questions, we took our counting cubes and compared the lengths of our names.
- We also focused on the sequence of the letters in our names. We created name puzzles with paper, bottle caps, and clothespins. We were very careful to put all those letters in the right order, so we would form our names..
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- After working so much on our names, we were ready to distinguish the letters we have in our names from those we don't have. Once again, we created a game!
Our work on our names hasn't finished yet. It is a long journey that will keep us busy for a long time. However, if someone asks us now "What is a name?", we are ready to answer "A lot of stuff, apparently..."